Kalmiopsis Rim Trail (near Cave Junction, Ore.)

Rating (Out of 5): 4.0

Location: Near Cave Junction, Ore.

Distance: 2.4 miles round-trip to Whetstone Butte; 5.5 miles round-trip to Eagle Mountain Summit

Difficulty: Easy to Whetstone Butte; Strenuous to Eagle Mountain summit

Camping: Yes

Quick hit: The views are almost nonstop along this ridgeline hike that traverses the boarder of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

From the trailhead, the hike heads onto a wide-open ridgeline with views on every side. Soon the large craggy peak of Whetstone Butte comes into view, and at the 1.2 mile mark, you reach the rock’s base. There’s an easy trail that you can take to the top of Whitstone, where the views are excellent.

Beyond Whetstone, the trail drops in a forested section where there are a number of trees lying across the trail which can make the going tough. After about a mile, the trail arrives at Eagle Gap, an open area.

The ascent to Eagle Mountain’s summit is the toughest part of the trail, climbing about 690 feet in 0.8 miles. The difficulty is offset by the views, which peer across a panorama of craggy orange peaks and down upon the Illinois River.

Once the trail levels out on the top of the mountain, a short spur trail takes you to the summit on the left. The summit rocks can be seen easily from the trail. The view from the summit is perhaps the best on the trail.

The trail does continue to Chetco Pass, but the path is lousy with downed trees.

Directions: From Grants Pass, drive south on Highway 199 for 24 miles past Selma. Turn right onto Eight Dollar Road (which has a sign marked “Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area 17”). Continue on the road to the bridge across the Illinois River, then veer right as the road becomes gravel and drive 12 miles along Eight Dollar Road. At a fork in the road, veer right on Road 142 to arrive at a large parking area and the trailhead.

(If you veer left at the fork, on Road 140, you’ll end up at the Babyfoot Lake trailhead).

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